Breaux Bridge might be a small city but it has a big history

Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 18:18:13-04

Breaux Bridge is a city of just 9,000 residents but people have been living in the area for more than 250 years.      

The earliest settlers arrived in the 1760s and started building small homes along Bayou Teche 

One of those first settlers was Firmin Breaux.

Breaux and his family moved up from St. James parish and quickly started buying up land along the bayou and giving it to his family and friends.

In 1799, Firmin Breaux built a pedestrian bridge over the bayou out of rope and planks tied to a couple oaks trees so people could get across the water without having to swim.

20 years later Breaux’s son Agricole constructed a simple wood bridge for wagons to safely cross the bayou. This bridge soon became a key landmark for helping people navigate the area.

Current Breaux Bridge Mayor Ricky Calais says, "originally when people wanted to direct you to this part of Cajun land they’d say well go to Breaux’s Bridge … and that eventually became the name of the area .. Breaux Bridge."  

In the mid-1800s those living in the area modified the wagon bridge into a drawbridge by using masts and cables pulled by oxen to lift the middle portion allowing boats to pass through the city.

During the Civil War, Confederate troops ended up burning down the bridge to prevent Union troops from crossing over the bayou.

To replace that bridge, the city built their first steel bridge in 1899 which would stand for 50 years before collapsing.

The city then built the current bridge that allows cars today to cross the bayou. 

To go along with its rich history of various bridges, Breaux Bridge was also the first community to feature crawfish on a restaurant’s menu and is known as the birthplace of crawfish etouffee.

For these reasons Breaux Bridge is recognized as the Crawfish capital of the world and holds one of the largest crawfish festivals in the United States every year on the first weekend of May.

In recent decades, Breaux Bridge has become a popular destination for people to build their homes and businesses as the city has seen it’s population quadruple.

Acadiana Profile Magazine named Breaux Bridge its 2017 Community of the Year to recognize the city for maintaining a vibrant downtown area but also developing an upcoming business district along Rees Street for its growing population.